Beats, rhymes and life are three of the corners where hip hop intersects. Few other TV shows have been able to cover all of these angles in-depth and authentically quite like REVOLT TV’s “Drink Champs,” which thrives on its candid conversations with the biggest and most influential figures in the game. In honor of such a one-of-a-kind show, REVOLT will be recapping each weekly “Drink Champs” episode, so you can always catch the gems that are dropped in each lit interview.
On the latest episode of “Drink Champs,” N.O.R.E. and DJ EFN spoke with famed radio personality Miss Jones about her career and experiences in the music industry.
Born Tarsha Jones in Queens, New York, the media maven first achieved fame as an R&B singer after being discovered by rapper Doug E. Fresh. She released a string of tracks in the ‘90s and was featured on records alongside several noteworthy artists including AZ, Big Pun, and Big L.
Jones later pursued a career in radio and became a personality on New York’s Hot 97, and eventually worked alongside the notorious duo Troi “Star” Torain and Timothy “Buc Wild” Joseph in the early 2000s. She later hosted her own show, “Miss Jones in the Morning” on the station and took her talents down I-95 south in Philadelphia, where she worked at Power 99 FM and 103.9 The Beat.
No stranger to controversy, the “tell it like it is” personality has been tied to a laundry list of media mishaps over the years. But, through it all, she has built an impressive career as the first African-American woman to host a hip hop show on morning radio. She also helped launch the careers of numerous personalities, including DJ Envy, who currently co-hosts “The Breakfast Club” on New York’s Power 105.1.
After taking some time away from the public eye, Jones is now ready to reclaim her seat as a major voice in the urban market. Earlier this year, she launched a reunion show podcast with many of her peers from her morning show days.
To help give fans a recap, REVOLT compiled a list of nine things we learned from the Miss Jones “Drink Champs” episode. Take a look at them below.
1. On Sleeping with Busta Rhymes to Get a Feature During Her Days as an R&B Singer
Though Jones worked with several reputable artists during her days as a singer, she admitted that she was never considered a “hot R&B artist” in comparison to some of her peers in the ‘90s. During her “Drink Champs” interview, she revealed to N.O.R.E. and EFN that she slept with rapper Busta Rhymes to obtain a feature on a song to increase her buzz.
“He would get with [the R&B group] Zhané and do a song. I’m like, ‘Am I not doing it hard enough?’” When the feature never came through, she explained that she continued to hold a grudge years later when she became a radio star. And, when the rapper would try to stop by the station for an interview, she would politely throw him a curve ball. “[I was like], ‘We’ll get back and let Busta know when he can come,’” she said. “Busta, you probably didn’t know that.”
2. On Star and Buc Wild’s Infamous Aaliyah Incident
Before Charlamagne Tha God became New York radio’s premier hip hop shock jock, Star and Buc Wild held the crown in the early 2000s. Jones recalled that the pair originally came to Hot 97 as writers for the show, but then rose to become personalities with her on the morning show. This came after Tracy Cloherty, the station’s former VP of programming, wanted to attract a new audience.
“Hot 97 had climaxed and Tracy knew she had to do something different to get the White boy listeners,” Jones said. “Hot 97, even though it was a pop station, it was really hip hop and the hood. The only way to be taken seriously and crack through was to get the Z100 [FM] listeners and that’s what Star and Buc Wild were able to do.”
Though the duo’s antics drove up the station’s ratings, things came to a screeching halt when a segment on the show made fun of the death of R&B star Aaliyah in 2001. Jones explained that she didn’t want to have any connections to the incident, so she walked off the show, and was later scolded by her boss for her actions.
“The phones got turned out,” Jones said. “I walked off the show. Within 30 minutes, I think like 75% of Hot 97 advertisers had called and pulled out. Tracy called me in her office at some point and broke me down. [She said], ‘You don’t leave your co-host and walk off the show.’”
After being reprimanded, Jones said she received a call from her boss hours later saying Star was being suspended for the incident. She also wanted Jones to help clean up the situation. “[Tracy said], ‘The people want you to fill in and help make this go away,’” Jones said.
3. On Wendy Williams Helping Her Get a Job in Philly After Getting Fired
Jones recalled that shortly after the Aaliyah controversy, her relationship with Star soured and he wanted her off the show. After trying to make amends, she said she was officially ousted shortly thereafter. After catching wind of Jones’ firing, fellow media queen Wendy Williams plugged her in with a job in Philly.
“Then, Wendy got word. At that point, Kevin [Hunter], her ex-husband was calling shots,” Jones said. “He did not want me and Wendy to remain friends because he always thought I was a threat. So, she called and was whispering on the phone, ‘Jones I know you just got let go. Call this person in Philly and tell them that Wendy told you to call.’”
4. On The “Tsunami Song” Controversy
A few years after she originally left NYC for Philly, Jones returned to the Big Apple and Hot 97 to form “Miss Jones in the Morning.” But, the personality later found herself involved in more controversy after the show’s producer, Rick Delgado, convinced other members on the show to sing a song that mocked the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. The natural disaster ravaged numerous countries of South and Southeast Asia, and killed at least 225,000 people.
After the “Tsunami Song” was played on the airwaves, it made international headlines and sparked numerous protests from the Asian community. “America knew about the ‘Tsunami Song.’ It was bigger than New York,” Jones said. “It was international news, and everybody hated Ms. Jones because that’s [who] they were being given as [the person] responsible.”
Jones explained to that after seeking legal counsel, she met with former New York City Councilman John Liu, who had a sphere of influence with the Asian community at the time. After she detailed that she didn’t have anything to do with the song, Liu told her that she didn’t have to worry.
“I got on the air Friday, and I apologized in the early hour,” Jones said. “The Asians didn’t do their thing and I was able to live to see another day.” Though she was in the clear, she also got into a heated on-air spat at the time of the controversy with former Hot 97 radio personality Miss Info, who is of Korean descent. But during her “Drink Champs” interview, Jones made amends. “I was feeling myself. I was so bitchy,” Jones recalled. “Miss Info, I apologize.”
5. On Her Special Night with Tupac and Monie Love
Before Biggie and Tupac’s notorious coastal feud in the ‘90s, the latter appeared at Biggie’s platinum party for his 1994 debut album, Ready to Die. Jones recalled that she attended the event and ran into Tupac there. She added said that she and British emcee Monie Love enjoyed a special evening with the emcee. Though she never revealed what happened during their encounter, she alluded that it was a threesome.
6. On Wendy Williams and Kevin Hunter’s Alleged Murder Hit
Even though Williams once helped her get a job when she was down, Jones explained that she was shocked when she saw a television news story that said the fellow radio personality allegedly put a hit out on her.
“I’m in Aruba with my new husband and I see a split screen…and it’s my face next to Wendy’s face. And it says, ‘Rival DJ plots murder hit on competition,’” Jones said.
She explained that the situation wasn’t addressed until legendary DJ Mister Cee, who formerly worked for Hot 97, appeared on her Instagram Live broadcast this year and told her that the alleged murder hit was Hunter’s idea. From there, Jones said Cee connected her with Williams and they hashed things out.
“[Cee] said, ‘I think if you and Wendy would talk, you would find some resolve. And you can either decide to be friends or walk away,’” Jones said. “So, [Wendy and I] talk for three hours and two days later, she calls and says, ‘Bitch, I’m on my way to your house.’ She pulls up to my house and we sit there for four hours.”
7. On Envy Taking Up for Her During Her Feud with Star
Jones said that when she returned to Hot 97 after being let go years earlier, she became wrapped up in a feud with Star, who was then a personality on rival station, Power 105.1. While she was advised to stay silent on the situation by Ebro Darden, who was Hot 97’s music director at the time, she explained that Envy stood up for her.
“[Star] had commercials and promos about me being a whore and having a child out of wedlock,” Jones said. “[My son was] still a kid. Envy goes on the mic and breaks Star down. So, now it’s bigger than me. And then, Star went further than he should have and said something about Envy’s daughter.”
That “something” was inappropriate sexual comments and Star also made lewd remarks against Envy’s wife, Gia. But instead of dropping to Star’s level, Jones said Envy and his wife, who is part Asian, also sought help from Liu to help resolve the situation. In the end, Star was ousted and according to Jones, Envy won a lawsuit against the personality. “Star had to get fired and Envy got millions of dollars,” Jones said. “Envy did the responsible thing.”
8. On Butting Heads with Peter Rosenberg
When Hot 97 personality Peter Rosenberg appeared on “Drink Champs” this past May, he told N.O.R.E. and EFN that he butted heads with Jones when he first arrived at the station and claimed that she “didn’t fuck with” him at all.
When asked about the matter, Jones said she kept her distance because she was suspicious of Rosenberg when Darden brought him in under the guise of being a producer on her show. “Bitch, you knew you wanted to be on-air,” Jones said. “If nothing else, you knew you wanted to be on the morning show. I saw the play. I’m not new.”
9. On Being in Love with Big Pun
Jones got the chance to collaborate with legendary emcee Big Pun on multiple occasions during her days as a singer. But she revealed on “Drink Champs” that their relationship was more than professional, and the two were in love with each other. She explained that he also did numerous favors for her and even added her to his publishing before his death in 2000.
“He was my love story. We never fucked, but we could have,” Jones said. “Pun would come to my house every week after 7 p.m. He was good to me. I was able to be regular Tarsha from Astoria. He was always married. It was pure emotion and he met me where I was. He knew I didn’t want anything from him but those laughs. And he knew I was dealing with some mental shit from the person I was dealing with at the time. And he pulled me up out of that.”